How Chris Beard and Texas Tech Have Dominated The Second-Half Spread
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
- Chris Beard has coached eight NCAA Tournament games for Texas Tech and is 9-0 against the second-half spread.
- Texas Tech is outscoring its opponents by 10 points per game in the second half of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders enter the National Championship Game 5-0 against the spread — the only team left in the NCAA Tournament that can claim that.
If Tech is able to take down Virginia as an underdog and win the national championship Monday night, it will join an exclusive list of teams to go 6-0 against the spread in the tournament en route to a national championship over the past 20 years:
- 2018 Villanova
- 2016 Villanova
- 2015 Duke
- 2014 Connecticut
- 2009 North Carolina
- 2006 Florida
So how has Texas Tech been able to exceed oddsmakers’ expectations so consistently? The Red Raiders coach, Chris Beard, deserves a lot of credit.
In Beard’s 11 NCAA Tournament games as a head coach, his teams are 10-1 against the second-half spread, covering by seven points per game. While at Texas Tech, he is 9-0 against the second-half spread in the tournament, covering by 7.9 points per game.
Since Beard’s first year as a head coach at Arkansas Little-Rock in 2015, he is the most profitable coach against the second-half spread in the NCAA Tournament. That’s not a coincidence.
Second To None
One of the main reasons why Texas Tech is heading to its first championship game in school history has been the amazing play of its defense — and more specifically, the defense’s play in the second half of games.
The Red Raiders are allowing 30.8 points per game during the second half this season, the third-lowest mark in the country behind Kansas State and Virginia. Where Red Raiders differentiate themselves from Virginia is in their average second-half margin of victory in the tournament.
Texas Tech is outscoring its opponents by 10 points per game in the second half, while Virginia is outscoring its opponents by an impressive six PPG, which is still almost less than half of the Red Raiders’ margin.
In four seasons as a head coach, Beard has made second-half adjustments as well as any other coach in the country given the context of his gigs at Arkansas Little-Rock and now at Texas Tech.
Beard’s teams have ranked fourth, 27th, 26th and 22nd in margin of victory in the second half and it all started in his first season in Little Rock. Back in 2015, Arkansas Little-Rock had an average margin of victory of +4.8 points in the second half, compared to -0.2 the season prior.
Bigger Than Just The Dance
In Chris Beard’s five years as a head coach, he is an astounding 72-46-4 (61%) against the second-half spread, the third-most profitable coach in the country, behind just Ben Howland and Dana Altman.
Recently, things have been even better for Beard and the Red Raiders in the second halves of games. Since Feb. 1, no team has been more profitable against the second-half spread than Texas Tech, which is 13-3 and dominating its way to the national title game.
When looking at the big picture, the only somewhat apples-to-apples comparison to the chaotic style of tournament play is non-conference play.
In Beard’s career when facing non-conference opponents, his teams are an amazing 33-8-1 (80.5%) against the second-half spread, covering by 6.5 points per game.
Of those 42 total games, 28 of them were played either on a neutral court or on the road and Beard’s teams are 24-4 (85.2%) against the second-half spread, covering by 7.8 points per game.
What This Means For Monday’s Game vs. Virginia
Texas Tech led Michigan State, 23-21, at the half of Saturday night’s Final Four matchup. Oddsmakers made the second-half spread Michigan State -1, basically making the game close to a pick’em for the second half.
The Red Raiders outscored the Spartans, 38-30, in the second half — continuing their streak of outscoring each team they’ve played in the tournament by eight points or more in the second half — to advance to the National Championship.
One angle bettors may want to focus on Monday night is if Texas Tech either trails Virginia at the half or is listed as a favorite in the second half (which coincidentally will most likely be one and the same).
In Beard’s career as a head coach, he is covering the second-half spread in 66% of games when his team is behind, compared to 58.1% when his team leads at the half.
Finally, when Beard’s team is listed as the favorite against the second-half spread, it is covering at a 62.5% clip, compared to just 58.8% when his team is listed as an underdog against the second-half spread.